Hold decision for three months

TODAY The Evening Star is demanding a three-month moratorium on the controversial proposals to take victims of serious heart attacks out of Suffolk for their initial treatment.

TODAY The Evening Star is demanding a three-month moratorium on the controversial proposals to take victims of serious heart attacks out of Suffolk for their initial treatment.

The Strategic Health Authority is aiming to take everyone suffering from a serious heart attack to a specialist centre in Norwich, Papworth, or Basildon after June 1.

But the decision was taken in secret with no regard to the population living within a 40-minute radius of Ipswich Hospital - including Colchester nearly 750,000 people live within its catchment area.

The call is backed by Ipswich Conservative candidate Ben Gummer who has also been fighting hard to ensure that the people of south east Suffolk and north east Essex are not put at risk by having to take them on an ambulance trip of up to 165 minutes after they suffer a heart attack.

Mr Gummer said it was vital that the Strategic Health Authority should allow Ipswich Hospital to continue to treat people having serious heart attacks while the decision was reviewed.

“The problem is that SHA has these strict boundaries. If you are injured at Manningtree you have to be taken to Colchester even if it is easier to take you to Ipswich.

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“They cannot understand that by looking at an area combining both south Suffolk and north Essex they have a region with a population of 750,000.

“All they see is the county boundary running through the middle of it.”

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said it was vital the proposals to take all serious heart attack victims out of the county were suspended until there had been a full debate.

“We have to have a three-month moratorium on this dangerous and potentially-deadly decision.

“This decision is not sensible and has to be reviewed, especially given the huge population that lives in the region. And it has to be reviewed now - not after we've had to cover stories about people dying in an ambulance at Diss or Newmarket,” he said.